Folio, 'Glenn Murcutt, Architect', paper / fabric, published by 01 Editions, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2006
Glenn Murcutt (born 1936) is arguably Australia's most esteemed contemporary architect, winner of numerous prizes including the international Pritzker Prize (2002) and the Alvar Aalto Medal (1992), and with a global reputation for designing houses that, to use his own words, 'touch this earth lightly'. Making extensive use of glass, timber and metal, and inspired by Australian vernacular styles, Murcutt's houses are designed in sympathy with their environment and to make the most of light, views and the prevailing weather. Murcutt is renowned for his low-key 'singular' mode of practice, an approach that has limited his architectural output, but in recent years he has been highly influential through his international lectures and workshops.
This superbly produced, limited edition (1000 copies) boxed folio comprises a hardcover book with essays by Kenneth Frampton, David Malouf and others, and eight case-study folders including text by Frampton, high quality photographs by Dupain and others, and full-size plans and drawings.The folio is a unique documentation of Murcutt's career to date, an important commentary by well-known writers on Murcutt's contribution, and a potentially valuable research resource on Murcutt's design process and methods.
Produced by 01 Editions, Sydney, Australia in 2006.
Glenn Murcutt (b.1936) was born in London but spent his young childhood in the Morobe district of New Guinea where his father managed a gold mine. His father Arthur Murcutt introduced Glenn to the architecture of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and to carpentry and building while building houses for his family and others on Sydney's northern beaches during the 1940s . From 1956 Murcutt studied architecture at the University of New South Wales and worked with several architects including Neville Gruzman. After graduating in 1961 Murcutt travelled for two years, returning in 1964 to work in the office of Ancher, Mortlock, Murray and Woolley.
In 1969 Murcutt established his own practice at Mosman, Sydney. Initially he struggled to find work, producing just three houses during the 1970s as well as numerous enovations and extensions. One of these was the Berowra Waters Inn where from 1976 Murcutt redesigned a 1930s teahouse for young chefsTony and Gay Bilson; the result was a standout marriage of design and culinary art that confirmed the talents of Murcutt and the Bilsons.
This initial exploratory phase saw Murcutt establish a mastery of the Miesian style. His prolific second phase was more regional in nature. Using a mixture of pragmatism and lyricism, Murcutt creates simple houses that resemble open verandas. He is admired locally and internationally for creating an identifiably Australian idiom in domestic architecture. In addition Murcutt's domestic focus and small practice contrasts with the corporate character of contemporary architecture although it also restricts the scope and impact of his work. Regardless, Murcutt and his numerous admirers are content with his embodiment of the architect as craftsman and visionary.
Glenn Murcutt's work has won several Australian awards as well as the Alvar Alto Medal (1992) and the Pritzker Prize (2002).
Charles Pickett, Curator Design and built environment.